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What is a zucchini doing in a chocolate cake, you might be asking? I’m glad you are, because I am about to tell you. The humble zucchini is somewhat of a FODMAP friendly superfood – it is filling, mostly liquid, rather bland (no offence, zucchini, I’m bland too) and can take on literally any flavour thrown at it, chocolate included. Given the above qualities, zucchini is an ideal candidate for FODMAP friendly, healthier baking – it gives gluten free baked goods the liquid they need to not become rock cakes, without adding anything to the FODMAP count of said baked goods. A true FODMAP miracle.
As you can see, I am a huge proponent of zucchini in cake, but it wasn’t that long ago that I used to make Nigella’s ‘courgette’ cake for my Mum’s birthday, weirding myself out, year after year, by the fact that I was putting ZUCCHINi in CAKE. It’s times like these that I truly believe in the human capacity to evolve and grow.
This chocolate cake is gluten free, grain free, refined sugar free and FODMAP friendly. It’s also dead easy to make, which is arguably a bigger bonus than all the above combined.
What if you’re vegan, though? Well, it’s your lucky day! There is a recipe for a vegan chocolate and pumpkin version, the recipe for which is right here.
Chocolate zucchini sheetcake with chocolate avocado icing
FOR THE CHOCOLATE CAKE:
- 1 cup almond meal
- 1/2 cup tapioca flour
- 200 g grated zucchini skin on, about one medium-large zucchini
- 3/4 cup cacao or cocoa
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons almond butter
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- Generous pinch of sea salt flakes
FOR THE CHOCOLATE ICING:
- 1 large avocado
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup 2 tablespoons if you have a particularly sweet tooth
- 1/4 cup cacao or cocoa
- A pinch of sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
- Combine the almond meal, tapioca flour, eggs, cacao and zucchini in your food processor, scraping down the edges intermittently, until you have a nice smooth batter. Add the coconut sugar, maple syrup, almond butter, coconut oil, vanilla bean paste and sea salt, and continue to process until combined.
- Add the baking powder and apple cider vinegar, and stir by hand to combine.
- Pour the mixture into a small greased baking pan. I used both a small rectangular 27cm x17 cm and square 20cm x 20cm pan, both to success.
- Place into the oven for 15-20 minutes. You may need to adjust the timings, depending on how thinly your cake batter is spread.
- While the cake is cooking, process your avocado, cacao, maple syrup and sea salt together until a smooth icing forms. You might have to scrape down the blender a few times, depending on the size of your avo.
- Once the cake has cooked and cooled, pile it up with the avo icing, and top with aesthetically pleasing bits and pieces as you see fit. The cake keeps well (icing and all) in the fridge for a number of days.